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    Default STABILIZING CLAY SOIL BASE IN DRIVEWAY

    I've begun excavation work on my driveway and when it rains the clay base turns into a slimy greasy mess that wouldn't even support my shoe after sucking it off of my foot! Instead of pouring large sums of money into a rocky base I've investigated the use of adding lime to stabilize the clay. I would appreciate any comments from those with experience with this process.

  2. #2
    Veteran Member
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    Default Re: STABILIZING CLAY SOIL BASE IN DRIVEWAY

    </font><font color="blue" class="small">( I've begun excavation work on my driveway and when it rains the clay base turns into a slimy greasy mess that wouldn't even support my shoe after sucking it off of my foot! Instead of pouring large sums of money into a rocky base I've investigated the use of adding lime to stabilize the clay. I would appreciate any comments from those with experience with this process. )</font>

    LIME the living H*** out of it!..BUT...BUT..that drive..if you intend on EVER running / parking anything heavy on it....REQUIRES a good solid ROCK "base". About 5-6 inches of 3" rock...pounded down into a "solid chunk" by constant driving on it with heavy trucks...like concrete trucks..etc..

    Application...over time with VERY SMALL fine crushed lime chips...and eventually...its like one solid mass of concrete!

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    Super Member Bob_Skurka's Avatar
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    Default Re: STABILIZING CLAY SOIL BASE IN DRIVEWAY

    Look into a product called Poly Pavement. It may be a possible partial solution for you, but only if you keep water away from your driveway.

    http://www.polypavement.com/index.htm


    No matter what you do, you need to make sure that you have good drainage away from the driveway if you have a clay subsurface. Water will undermine any type of driveway that is built over clay if you don't have good drainage. If it was me (and yes, I do have clay under my driveway) I would first dig it out and lay in a couple layers of stone. Talk to the people around you to find out the best stone for your area, sometimes large stone is recommended as the base, sometimes they use crush&amp;run then large stone, then limestone fines. I did eventually asphalt my drive but not for a few years. One of the guys down the road put in an asphalt drive and it collapsed the year he paved it because he didn't have any drainage away from the drive. Other people have had no problems maintaining gravel driveways nearby but they have the drives properly built with multiple layers of stone and drainage. A geotextile mat under the stone is also supposed to work well with clay soil, but I have no actual experience with it.

    The key to keeping it up is to eliminate your water problems.



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    Veteran Member Hooked_on_HP's Avatar
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    Default Re: STABILIZING CLAY SOIL BASE IN DRIVEWAY

    I'm not shure where you are located, but in my area they put down large amounts of lime mix it in with the clay with a machine that resembles a tiller. From waching them, it looks like they go down about a foot when mixing it. When they get done it's as hard as concrete.

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    Default Re: STABILIZING CLAY SOIL BASE IN DRIVEWAY

    Where I used to live, they also mix lime into the clay (and sometimes fly ash) with a giant tiller looking machine. I was told this is called soil cement. After tilling the lime in they wet things down and let set for a few days. Grade it and pave right over it. I think this should work well for a driveway.

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    Super Star Member EddieWalker's Avatar
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    Default Re: STABILIZING CLAY SOIL BASE IN DRIVEWAY

    There's all sorts of clay out there and your might be totally different than mine. I have three diferent colors on my place. Two are really good for roads, one is terrible.

    I've found that you have to get it dry, or near dry to work with it. If you got a moisture issue, than it's not the clay,but drainage. When you got good drainage, the water runs right off the clay and it dries faster than loam or any other soil.

    I've had wet spots take months to dry out enough to work with. It will never hold any weight until it's dry. Than you can build it up and know that it will last forever!!

    Of course, you still want gravel over it, but that's just for a solid surface when it's wet out.

    I've learned that you do this, and clay is a wonderful material to work with!!!

    Eddie


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    Silver Member monkeymonk's Avatar
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    Default Re: STABILIZING CLAY SOIL BASE IN DRIVEWAY

    </font><font color="blue" class="small">( LIME the living H*** out of it!..BUT...BUT..that drive..if you intend on EVER running / parking anything heavy on it....REQUIRES a good solid ROCK "base". About 5-6 inches of 3" rock...pounded down into a "solid chunk" by constant driving on it with heavy trucks...like concrete trucks..etc..

    Application...over time with VERY SMALL fine crushed lime chips...and eventually...its like one solid mass of concrete! )</font>


    Rock first? or lime? how long will lime/hardness/strength last? How about winter?

    sounds like a good idea for folks round these parts.

    I think you mentioned something like this before?

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    Veteran Member jbrumberg's Avatar
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    Default Re: STABILIZING CLAY SOIL BASE IN DRIVEWAY

    Viewquest:
    Your driveway sounds like mine. I am still waiting for things to dry out before I really start the "Project". Mud season is long in NE and during this timeframe I talked to local contractors (only one showed up to give me an estimate, and he would not even drive his FIL's fancy and large SUV up my mudway.). Every contractor (5) I talked to recommended geotextile fabric to be placed under the stone ballast. This is supposed to minimize water "pumping" (i.e. rock sucking). The geotextile material is relatively expensive, but it should not "breakdown" over time. I do not know how it would compare with limestone cost wise. Good luck- Jay

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    Default Re: STABILIZING CLAY SOIL BASE IN DRIVEWAY

    View....I'm dealing with a similar situation here on my property. I'm building a road with nightmarish clay undernearth that basically makes the tractor useless. I know what you're dealing with and it gets old quick.

    I looked into lime as a solution. It was too much time and energy for me to mess with; not sure of your access or ability to spread and mix the lime. So here's what I did: Excavated down into the slop about 12" then laid down a layer of good quality road fabric (geotextile fabric) right over the greasy goo. The fabric was covering in the worst areas with 4-5" base material and 3" in the firmer areas. I then covered that with about 2" of 3/4" crushed stone with fines. We call it surepack (surpak) around here. It filters down into the big stuff and locks it all together. Once covered, I can tell you that a fully loaded tandem did not move the base as it rolled across (not at all). I was impressed to say the least. What you don't want to do is skimp on materials and have a road that needs endless maintenance because the the base is insufficient. The maintenance costs in time and money will kill you in the end.

    My local planning commission flagged me for using 5" base material and I had to appear before them to explain...so I'd say check what they require (if anything) before you drop your first load. If necessary you can ask for a variance if they give a max of 2.5" or something that small. I tried the smaller stuff they said to use first....well the first tandem went right though, pulling the fabric all apart. I had to dig it all out and lay down new fabric, then put a layer of the 4-5" material down. What a difference....it drains very well and it's as solid as an Interstate...love it. The fabric has been a critical ingredient and worth the investment.

    Not sure how much and what type of use your road will get. Mine is a primary road for three future homes and will take a beating from cement trucks and delivery vehicles over time.

  10. #10
    Super Member
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    Default Re: STABILIZING CLAY SOIL BASE IN DRIVEWAY

    I think Jim hit the nail on the head. Use the geo-textile fabric before you place your base stone and it will keep all the stone from mushing into the clay. Then use the fines to lock the larger stone base together. I just yesterday increased the length of our 650' drive by another 155' and I'll be topping it with the fines come Monday.

    For what it's worth I have also found a very easy way to trim any excess geo-fabric that may be peeking out at the edges of the stone. I took a propane torch, the kind that works off a barbecue grill bottle and hit the cloth with the torch. It instantly melts away any excess exposed cloth.

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